For the last decade this was a conference game in the WAC. Starting next year it will be a conference game in the Mountain West. Thanks to the seemingly endless conference shuffles, though, this year it will be a non-conference game—just one of the strange quirks in the Boise State Broncos football schedule this year.
While you always have to be happy about an ongoing rivalry, this one hasn’t been as competitive as it ideally would be. Boise State has won and covered the spread in nine of their 10 meetings over the course of the past decade. Recently it hasn’t even been remotely competitive—the Broncos have won two of the last three games by 51 points, including a 51-0 shutout last year.
Boise State started the season with a strong statement when they beat up on Georgia. The obvious problem, though, was that their schedule just wasn’t strong enough to impress voters and finally earn a non-automatic qualifier berth in the BCS National Championship Game. With time the situation has only gotten worse for the Broncos. They have continued to play well, but the only team that stood a chance of being a reasonable opponent that could build respect—TCU—has lost two games already and is scaring no one without Andy Dalton.
Short of a lot of surprising losses ahead of them in the polls—and teams like LSU and Alabama would likely have to lose twice—the Broncos are likely destined to repeat history again. They will have an unbeaten season, a nice BCS game performance, but no shot at the big prize.
Boise State at Fresno State Betting Story lines
Broncos’ fans are not generally going to be too worried about coming out on top in this one—even though they are playing on the road. The Bulldogs are only 2-3 this year, and the three losses have come against BCS conference teams—all of which would struggle to contend with the Broncos. If Boise State were to lose this one it would be a major problem for them on several levels.
While those fans don’t have to panic, if they want to be concerned they could just look at Kellen Moore’s performance last week. He completed an uncharacteristically low 57 percent of his passes, compiled only 142 passing yards, and threw two first half interceptions. He just wasn’t the Kellen Moore we have grown to be in awe of over the years. Every quarterback has an off day, and I expect him to bounce back strong. However, a second straight "off" game would be a real concern.
Speaking of quarterbacks, people who haven’t spent a lot of time watching Fresno State in a while may feel like they are seeing things when they tune in for this one. Fresno State’s most successful player was quarterback David Carr, the first overall draft pick in 2002. The QB jersey again features the name Carr on it—this time that of David’s brother Derek. The redshirt sophomore is in no danger of going first overall right now, but in his first full year of starting he’s been solid—1,291 yards passing, 10 TDs against four interceptions, and a 61 percent completion percentage. Those aren’t Heisman numbers, but he’s not to blame for the losses.
Fresno State is going to have to score a lot of points if they want to have any chance of an upset. To do so they are going to have to get a big day from running back Robbie Rouse. Rouse has surpassed 100 yards each of the last four games, and ranks 12th in the country in yards per game.
The Broncos have lost one key player, but have added one who may be valuable. Gone is cornerback Jerrell Gavins, the team leader in interceptions with three. He hurt his knee in practice and could miss the rest of the season. Joining the active roster for the first time is Geraldo Boldewijn. The receiver is one of the Dutch players who missed the start of the season with eligibility issues that have been cleared up in his case.
Boise State at Fresno State Betting Odds and Trends
The Broncos opened as 20.5 point favorites, according to college football odds, and that margin has expanded to 21 in a lot of cases. Not surprisingly, nearly 80 percent of bets have been placed on Boise State. The total is set at 58.5.
Boise State is 21-7 ATS in their last 28 games. They aren’t nearly as explosive offensively as the public thinks, either—the "under" is 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Fresno State has gone ‘over’ in seven of their last nine games as an underdog.
College Football Picks: Boise State at Fresno State Betting Predictions
I don’t generally like to back a team that is so loved by the public like the Broncos are here, but the public is right here. The Broncos are a very strong team, and they are going to look to put in a stronger, more consistent effort this week after a spotty one last week.
They have done very well against the Bulldogs in the past, and there is no good reason to think that they won’t do so again here. This many points is a lot to give up, but they have won by an average of almost 22 points per game in their last three, so it’s not too much. I like the Broncos.
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